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Facebook will advertise in Oculus Quest apps

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Facebook will soon start testing ads on its Oculus Quest virtual reality system. In the coming weeks, ads will appear in the Resolution Games title Blaston, as well as two other unnamed apps. Facebook will later expand the system based on user feedback, saying that it aims to create a “stand-alone platform” for VR development.

Facebook rolled out ads on the Oculus mobile app last month and has been using limited Oculus data to target Facebook ads since 2019, but this is the first major foray into serving ads on the Oculus VR platform itself. “As soon as we see how this test goes and feed in feedback from developers and the community, we will provide more details on when ads will become more widely available on the Oculus platform and Oculus mobile app,” the company said in one Blog post.

Facebook has “no plans” to base ads on motion or voice command data

As with Facebook’s non-VR apps, you can block certain posts or companies from appearing in ad spaces. And Facebook says it won’t change how it collects or analyzes user information. It is said that some of the most sensitive data – such as raw images from Oculus headset cameras and weight or height information from Oculus Move fitness tracking – remains solely on users’ devices. Also, Facebook says it has “no plans” to target ads based on movement data or recordings from its voice assistant.

A Facebook spokesperson says that the system uses information from your Facebook profile, as well as “whether you’ve viewed, installed, activated or subscribed to content, added an app to your shopping cart or wish list if you initiated this” to checkout or purchased an app on the Oculus platform, regardless of whether you viewed, mouse, saved, or clicked an ad in a third-party app. “

As shown above, users can click an ad and either open it or save the link for later. The former option launches a landing page in the Oculus Quest web browser, and the latter saves the ad in the Quest In-VR Experience and Explore sections of the Oculus mobile app. Developers get a share of the revenue from ads in their apps, but Facebook doesn’t publicly disclose the percentage.

Later ad formats could be tailored specifically to VR

Facebook leaves its future roadmap open. The spokesperson says that, for example, Facebook hasn’t determined whether ads might appear on your Oculus Home experience. Facebook is also not yet identifying the other apps from ads, although it will list more names in the coming weeks. The first few ads look like standard boxes in game interfaces, but Facebook’s blog post states that other options are also being explored. “We’re currently investing in low-profile ads as a new way for developers to build businesses – and while we’re not quite ready to test them out, we’re also exploring new ad formats that are unique to VR,” it said.

VR has been an advertising medium for years with countless film and TV advertising links as well as innovations from companies such as McDonald’s and Ikea. But ad-supported VR apps use a different model that is more similar to that of the mobile and web ecosystem. Allowing developers to integrate advertising could create a greater incentive to work within the official Facebook ecosystem rather than distributing through sideloading options like SideQuest.

Facebook says ads are part of trying to find profitable business options in the growing but often difficult area of ​​VR app development. “This is an essential part of ensuring that we create a self-sustaining platform that can support a variety of business models that tap into new types of content and audiences. It also helps us make innovative AR / VR hardware more accessible to more people, ”the blog post said.

Advertising has always been a topic for Facebook’s super-affordable quest

Facebook is currently dominating consumer VR with its Oculus Quest 2 headset – which at $ 299 is one of the most affordable options out there. It has also taken over the studios behind several major VR games, including the rhythm game Beat Saber and the battle royale title Population: One. While it may face renewed competition from a second-generation Sony PlayStation VR headset next year, at least one VR company has pulled out of consumer hardware in part due to the influence of Facebook: Vive inventor HTC, who made the inexpensive Consumer headsets labeled by Facebook as “artificial” have been subsidized “by the company’s advertising-driven business model.

Meanwhile, Facebook has slowly strengthened the connections between its central business and Oculus, which it acquired in 2014. Quest headsets have required Facebook logins since last year, although users can maintain separate profiles and use aliases in VR. Adding advertising isn’t a surprising move for the company – and it’s another signal that Oculus hardware is becoming more and more integrated with Facebook.

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